I am not a social media professional but I have come across some tools used by professionals that have worked well for me. The tools allow me to maintain consistency and a substantial presence in social media, without spending all day working on it. I can do things such as scheduling messages, tracking statistics and optimizing my messages so they go out at the time they are most likely to be seen. Let me tell you about the tools I use.
I use HootSuite as my primary client to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin and to track everything I am sending out.
HootSuite is the default client for most social media professionals since it allows management of multiple accounts, scheduling of messages, tracking statistics and a lot more for $9.99 a month (there is a free account with basic features that might be worth a try to get started and a more sophisticated account for professionals).
In HootSuite, you can add Twitter, Facebook (both normal accounts and pages), Linkedin, Foursquare and Google +. You can schedule tweets for just about anytime up to months in advance, while adding pictures and links. HootSuite is great for promoting a blog or other website. Here is a screenshot of the home page on my account.
One way I use HootSuite is after I write a blog post and schedule it to post at some point in the future, I will schedule messages to go out following the time the blog post publishes. HootSuite has a web client, a great iPad app, a really good iPhone app and an Android app. Additionally, there are browser plugins for Hootsuite for Chrome, Firefox and something called a “Hootlet” for Safari and Internet Explorer.
In addition to HootSuite, BufferApp has some of the same characteristics but a different principal: BufferApp schedules the things you want to post for you and spaces them out through the course of a day or week. You put material in either by typing up messages or adding material directly from a browser. BufferApp spaces the material out and sends it at times that you set. The pro version of the app is $9.99 and allows you to schedule specific messages. BufferApp lets you post to Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Google +. Here is a look at the home page on my BufferApp account.
BufferApp has an iPhone App, as well as plugins for browsers including Chrome and Safari.
With either HootSuite or BuffApp you can use Google Chrome extensions to post stuff directly from the web to your accounts. Here is a picture of the extensions.
I think either of these apps would be good for scheduling messages and maintaining a consistent social media profile. I know there are other services that allow scheduling of messages, these are the two with which I am most familiar.
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